I am the youngest of my over 50 first cousins born on my paternal side. I am also the youngest of my 9 first cousins born on my maternal side. As a result, I am also 1 of only 3 of these cousins that are still alive. I have one older cousin on each side of my parents families, both are males. I say this because I had always thought it was odd that I was usually the same age as my 2nd and third cousins. It wasn’t until I began researching my family history that I the answer to this situation.
My mother and my Grandpa Smith aged 86
My mother was the youngest of 6 children and my Dad was the second youngest of 11 children. I was the youngest child born from this union, my mother being 36 and my Dad being 40. I only met my maternal Grandfather as the other 3 Grandparents died long before I was born. My Grandpa Smith was 67 years old when I was born. When I finally met him when I was about 8 years old I thought he had to be 100 years old!
At the beginning of my research this was basically the only information I had. I soon found out that all 4 of my Grandparents had been born between 1868 and 1888. All of them had been born between 67 to 87 years before me. Imagine my surprise when I realized that my mothers Grandfather had been born in 1853. Pleasant Smith, my maternal Great Grandfather, was born on February 14, 1853, in Hazel Hill. Johnson County, Missouri. He was born 102 years before me! I have friends who still have at least one Grandparent and one Great Grandparent that are alive.
Except for the fact that he married my Great Grandmother in 1882, and they had my Grandfather, that same year, I now nothing about him. I don’t have the slightest idea about his parents. I also have no idea when he died. It was like he just appeared on Valentine’s Day and then decided to keep his life to himself. My mother told us some wild tales about him while we were growing up. First that he was a Creek Indian Chief. Then his tribe killed him, cut him up and placed him on the railroad tracks for leaving the tribe and marrying a none Native. I have found no evidence of either him being a Native or any incidents in Missouri that matched this story.
He is my most frustrating brick wall because I haven’t even been able to take a tiny chunk out of it. Maybe one day I will crash through it, but until then…… Happy 168th Birthday Pleasant Smith!
I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have written two books “Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time” and “Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip”, both available on Amazon. You can also connect with me on Facebook and Twitter @VHughesAuthor.